Monday, January 4, 2016

Michael Vey: Storm of Lightening, Richard Paul Evans

Well, it's getting harder to find pictures of the book covers that can be used form a URL!

Book 5 of 7. *I also just decided to attempt the Popsugar 2016 Reading has more books on it than I originally would have picked for myself, but we'll see how far I get. This one counts as the "YA Best Seller".

WOW. Another great fast, thrilling ride! So much more information is given, yet the BIGGEST is yet to come. We were face with the identity of The Voice in the very bottom of the very last page and then....THE END. What??!!??!! And another 9-10 months until the next book. WHY do I get myself into series before they're finished?? It's such a horrible idea, but I fall for it. Every. Time. Sometimes it's an accident (Divergent), but most of the time I must just be a glutton for punishment.

There is more action and plot movers than character development. I would have liked to have a lot more inside other character's minds, but things are happening and happening fast.

My FAVORITE part of the book is SO incredibly relevant. It's a monologue by the villain, Hatch to his second in command Quentin on how to be the perfect and ultimate dictator. It's two pages long (183-184) but it's SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT that I'm going to post some of it here. I started making it a FB status, but realized that you need ALL of it and not just a status amount of it to have it make its full impact.

"The greatest threat to a dictator is not from without but from within. The first rule is, you must keep your subjects divided. A united people is a smoldering revolution. A divided people is a conquered people."  "How do I do that?" Quentin asked. "You make them hate one another. Before World War Two, Hitler was amazed and disgusted by the hate the German people exercised toward one another. He harnessed their animosity and directed it to his own ends."....."How do I make them hate each other?" "You begin by teaching them that they have been wronged by one another-that they are victims of a grave injustice-and encourage them to embrace their victimhood." "What if they haven't been wronged?" "Everyone has been wronged," Hatch said. "Everyone. And if you can't find a potent enough current injustice, then borrow someone else's. Find one that happened to someone else long ago and make your citizen a supposed crusader for justice. Imbue them with a sense of moral superiority as they trample the rights of others beneath their feet. Righteous indignation is the alibi of mobs and murderers....Unfortunately the Tuvaluan people are of the same race and culture, as cultural disparity is the easiest way to divide a nation. But divisions in humanity can always be found. Turn men against women and women against men. Divide the young from the old, the rich from the poor, the educated from the uneducated, the religious from the nonreligious, the privileged from the underprivileged. Teach them to shame others and to use shame as a tool to their own ends. Make the ridiculous ideal of 'equality' their rallying cry. Let them get so caught up in their supposed moral superiority that they'd rather see all men grovel in poverty than rise in differing levels of prosperity. Do not let them see that there has never been nor ever will be true equality, in property or rights. Equality is not the nature of the world or even the universe. Even if you could guarantee everyone the same wealth, humans would reject the idea. They would simply find a different standard to create castes, as there will always be differences in intelligence, physical strength, and beauty. Don't worry if your propaganda is true or false. Truth is subjective. It's as easy to tell a big lie as a small one. And any lie told enough will be regarded as truth. In dividing the young from the old, do not teach the youths the error of their elders' ways, as they may see through your propaganda. Instead, mock their elders. Mocking requires neither proof nor truth, as it feeds the fool's ego. You will see that when it comes to the masses, the stupider the individual, the more they want to prove it to the world. The second rule is to keep the people distracted from the weightier and more complex matters of liberty and justice. Keep them obsessed by their amusements-just as the Roman emperor Commodus gave the Roman people games to distract them from his poor leadership. A championship soccer team may do more to ease a public's suffering than a dozen social programs. If your subjects can name a movie star's dog but not the president of their country, you have no need to fear. The third rule is to to teach them not to trust one another. An ancient proverb says 'Kings have many ears and many eyes.' You must build a web of informants from within the population. Openly reward those who report on their neighbors. If your subjects don't know who is an informant and who isn't, they will never risk speaking their grievances."...."You will learn that human nature is a game. Learn to control the few, and you will someday control the masses. Give them hate. Give them games."

Okey dokey....who out there has found parallels in today's world? Someone recently mentioned that the downfall of America is happening right now because NO ONE wants to "Identify" as 'American'. They want to identify as native american, hispanic, latino, asian american, african american, etc. etc. they are SO caught up in the grievances of the past that they demand that someone pay for it today-even if no one they personally know today has connections to those "borrowed" grievances. We are constantly dividing ourselves and pitting ourselves against one another. Organic vs. conventional. Breast vs. bottle. Stay at home moms vs. working moms. Those who have and have not. And lies are perpetuated EVERY DAY on Facebook and accepted and touted as truth. I'm talking blatant lies like the hoaxes that go around:"Moon melon" Anyone? That's the supposed blue watermelon that is in reality a photoshop exercise. How many crimes have been committed by all different types of people in the name of "righteous indignation"? Everything from the KKK to ISIS to that crazy Baptist church that protests soldier funerals falls into that category. Can't we see that ANYTHING that makes us different from one another and demands recourse for being different is HURTING and DIVIDING us which makes us already conquered. But we're ok. We still have the Super Bowl. And college ball. Lots of balls. We have dancing too! And don't forget those Bachelor's and Bachelorette's who just know the only way they are going to find true love is to be on a television show to help them. We care more about whether a dress is blue and black or white and gold that we did about what was going on with our country's security for heaven's sake! Social media is the EASIEST way governments can keep us distracted and they don't even have to do a darn thing! We do all of this to ourselves.

I am a Christian and as I read those things Hatch was saying, I was reminded that Christ's way really is the only way for freedom-we have to love people (not always agree with them) and try to be "as one". And we have to be ok with the fact that someone is always going to have more of what we don't. It's not a capitalist thing; it's a fact. Like Hatch said, even if we could be equal in most things, we'd still find a way to be different. So give up on the idea that everyone is always going to be identical and realize that equality isn't about being identical. To use a simple algebraic equation, a=c. a is NOT the same as c, they are different, but they CAN both represent the same quantity. Why not just be a=a then? I don't know. I never did fully grasp the motivation in math, but I know that a=c is a possibility.

Anyhow, I wish we as a nation would just stop playing into these rules that keep us divided and distracted. Luckily we're not to rule #3 yet, and I really hope it never comes to that. I'm really looking forward to having my older daughter read these books, especially for those two pages. However, Hatch is INSANELY disturbing as usual-taking humiliation and fear control to the highest level so far (SPOILER: by making the former Prime Minister of Tuvalu into the Prime Monkey by surgically removing his tongue so he cannot speak and forcing him to live out the rest of his life on public display in a monkey cage with other monkeys naked with the threat that if he attempts to take his own life one of his children will take his place-and knowing that Hatch WOULD follow through on that threat). It makes me nearly physically ill. So I want ALL of the books to be out before she starts reading it so that she can have psychological resolution as quickly as she can read the books (it'll probably take her around a week....). I just worry that he's too evil to expose my innocent 10 year old to. I mean, I think I'd even let her read Hunger Games before this one because Hunger Games has a lot less psychological trauma going on; yes there's a lot of physical violence, but it's presented in a way that didn't affect me nearly as much as Hatch does. Pure absolute EVIL. But I am looking forward to her having this evil presented in such an overt and obvious way, in hopes that she will then be able to assess and recognize the more subtle forms that she will most likely encounter throughout her life.

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